The former First Minister Alex Salmond said if the oil price soars, an oil fund should be set up so that the people, not big oil companies, see the benefit.
Mr Salmond said the UK Government had been short-sighted in its handling of oil proceeds, with its inaction effectively short-changing Scotland, and the UK public.
Speaking at the Renewables After Brexit conference in Dundee, he said: “I think there’s a great future for oil and gas but we have to get control of the resource.
“It’s quite interesting, after being panned for saying there is a great future, everybody is saying again ‘of course there’s a great future – 20 billion barrels, 30 billion barrels’ – it’s a lot more than that actually, so there’s another 30 to 40 years or more.
“In a more difficult climate, more challenging in many ways, let’s see if we can make the next 30, 40 years a success for the people and not just for the big oil companies. By and large international oil companies will be all right, they’ll make do, whatever the weather, whatever the oil price.
“Let’s see if we can get the workers, the communities and the people the benefits. Why can they not have a turn? After 50 years of oil and gas, can the next 30, 40 years … can it not be the people’s turn?”
Mr Salmond was critical of the Treasury’s handling of oil money and railed against the short-sightedness of the UK Government of the past and the current administration as the UK approaches Brexit.
He said: “The mistake that was made with oil and gas was not really a Scottish mistake, but the mistake that was made was that we didn’t take control of it like the Norwegians. Out of that came the biggest mistake which was not to form an oil and gas fund – which the Norwegians did in 1992, but didn’t pay anything in until 1997.
“They now have a trillion dollar fund which has income about 100 times greater than UK oil revenues. That is what could and should have been done.
“Basically the same level of revenue has come out of the two different sectors in terms of oil revenue but the Norwegian tax has been much better. The key difference in policy is that they established an oil and gas fund, from which Scotland could have taken control of its hydrocarbons and made sure that the benefit accrued to the nation not just to the UK exchequer and individual oil companies.”
Mr Salmond said the biggest issue with Brexit will be the loss of talent.
He said: “The diminution of human capacity and human potential will be the biggest loss to the UK after Brexit.”
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